Andrew Moloney determined to right a wrong, vows to defeat Joshua Franco in trilogy bout
Australian boxer-puncher Andrew Moloney will face Joshua Franco for the third time in 14 months when the pair collide at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday.
Moloney, who is rated No. 8 by The Ring at junior bantamweight, was edged out over 12 rounds by hard-fought but unanimous decision in an exciting back-and-forth bout in Las Vegas last June.
The rematch was a natural and took place five months later. Moloney looked to get an early jump on his rival and appeared to land a legitimate scoring blow that saw Franco’s eye quickly swell shut. At the completion of the second round the fight was brought to a premature close. Referee Russell Mora consulted with Bob Bennett of the Nevada State Athletic Commission and following a thirty-minute intermission the fight was declared a no-contest.
Moloney was hugely disappointed in the outcome and felt that it was a grave miscarriage of justice.
“I have absolutely no doubt that his eye was closed from a punch and I should have won that fight by TKO,” Moloney told The Ring. “I’m sure Franco and his team all know that as well.
“It still makes me angry that the commission didn’t overturn the referee’s decision when it was so clear that there was no head-clash and the damage was done by a punch.”
The incident has obviously added fuel to the fire for the 30-year-old Moloney.
“I’m really excited that this fight is almost here,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming. For the last eight months I’ve constantly had in my mind what they did to me in Vegas last November.
“I’m looking forward to winning my world title back on August 14 and putting that all behind me.”
The two fighters know each other well and the New South Wales resident is prepared for what may come his way.
“I know his style very well,” said Moloney. “He brings pressure and throws a lot of punches, but I’m very confident I can continue doing what I did in our second fight and I will win this fight comfortably.”
Tony Tolj, who manages both Andrew and twin brother Jason, knows this is a fight his charge cannot afford to lose.
“The fight is massive, rightly so, with the controversy,” said Tolj. “[In] the first fight Andrew had two perforated eardrums and only lost by one point [on two of the official scorecards.] Since then, Andrew has developed into a new fighter which showed in the second fight.
“It was a moment that was forever taken from Andrew and the Australian people, but come August 14th, to quote Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage, ‘The cream will rise to the top, oh yeah.’”
Franco (17-1-2, 8 KOs) was a talented amateur before turning professional in 2015. He was highly regarded before being upset by Lucas Emanuel Fernandez Leone (TKO 9) in March 2018. He has since become more battle-hardened, sharing 30 grueling rounds with Oscar Negrete (D 10, SD 10 and D 10). The 25-year-old is currently rated No. 6 by The Ring.
Editor’s Note: The WBA regular title, which will be on the line in this bout, is not recognized by The Ring.
The ESPN tripleheader will also feature the Jason Moloney-Joshua Greer bantamweight bout and junior welterweight contender Arnold Barboza faces Antonio Moran. The broadcast will begin at 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT.